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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 5

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Tribes. Thus were God’s promises sweetly fulfilled, and David obtained the quiet dominion over all Israel, excepting perhaps a few of the tribe of Benjamin, according to the Vulgate, 1 Paralipomenon xii. 29. an army of 340,822 was collected on this occasion; and David signalized the commencement of his reign, by the taking of Jerusalem. (Calmet) --- The tribe is Issachar is not specified in the text; but Josephus asserts, that 20,000 of them assembled; so that the army would amount to 359 (Salien) or 60[360?] thousand, besides the 822. (Calmet) --- These might be considered as deputies of all the rest of their brethren, 1 Paralipomenon xii. 38. They were abundantly supplied with all necessities. (Salien) --- Flesh, of the same nation, as Moses had specified, Deuteronomy xvii. 15. (Calmet) --- They now relinquish all the seeds of division, which had before hindered them from joining with their brethren of Juda. Kennicott discovers several important alterations, by comparing this history with 1 Chronicles xi. (Dissert. i.) (Haydock)

Verse 2

Lead out to battle. His experience in war was a great recommendation. (Haydock) --- Feed, as a shepherd, under which character he is first represented. (Haydock) --- Other rulers were afterwards honoured with the same title, (Calmet) particularly the governors of the Church, Acts xx., &c. David’s name is written without i, in the books before the captivity; whence Kennicott would infer, that the canticles were perhaps not the work of Solomon, as the i occurs there; Duid for Dud. (Haydock)

Verse 3

Ancients; princes of the tribes, and officers, (Calmet) with all the chief magistrates. (Haydock) --- The high priest, Abiathar, received the oaths of allegiance from the people, and of the king, who promised to govern according to the laws of God. The ark was probably present, and innumerable sacrifices offered on this solemn occasion, as was usual, 1 Paralipomenon xii. 26. Hebron continued to be a place of sacrifices, chap xv. 7. (Calmet) --- David had erected here a temporary altar and tabernacle, where Abiathar officiated in his pontifical robes, as it was not safe for the people to go into the dominions of Isboseth, either to Gabaon or to Cariathiarim. (Tostat) --- Israel, acknowledging the right which David had to the throne, by God’s appointment. (Haydock; Worthington)

Verse 4

Forty, a round number, as another half year is specified below; (Calmet) or Solomon might be crowned at the expiration of the 40th year. (Du Hamel)

Verse 6

Land. This was the only canton which the infidels still retained, as they had still possession of the citadel of Jebus, (Calmet) though the Israelites had been in the country above 400 years. (Kennicott) --- Nothing could reflect greater glory on the beginning of David’s reign, than the seizing of this place, (Calmet) which was deemed so impregnable, that the Jebusites thought the blind and the lame were sufficient to defend it. (Haydock) --- They placed some upon the walls, (Menochius) "despising him, on account of the strength of their walls."

Verse 7

Castle: "the lower city," (Josephus) spread over Mount Sion.

Verse 8

Gutters. Hebrew Tsinnor, "through (Nodius) the subterraneous passage," (leading to the tops of the houses.) (Hugo of Vienna) --- Thus Babylon was taken by Cyrus, who passed through the channel of the Euphrates, the waters of which he had let out; though the inhabitants had derided his attempt to take the city by siege, as the men of Jebus do here. Polybius says, "Rabatamana, a city of Arabia, could not be taken, till one of the prisoners shewed the besiegers a subterraneous passage, (Greek: uponomon) through which the besieged came down for water." Of the same nature were the gutters here spoken of. (Kennicott) --- "The king promised to give the command of the army to the man who would pass through the cavities (Greek: pharaggon) below, and take the citadel." (Josephus) --- This reward is expressly mentioned in 1 Paralipomenon xi. 6, with the person who obtained it; (St. Jerome, Trad.) and it seems, after David, this ought to be inserted, "shall be the head and captain. And Joab, the son of Sarvia, went up first, and was made the general." (Haydock) ---Hatred. Hebrew, "that are hated by David’s soul." Cajetan supposes that the Jebusites in the citadel, are thus distinguished from those who dwelt peaceably in the lower town, with the Israelites. (Calmet) --- Proverb. Protestants insert, "He shall be head and captain. Wherefore they said, the blind....into the house." What is translated temple, may denote also, "the house" of David, or "the place" where this provocation had been given. (Haydock) --- Idols shall never be adored in the true Church. (Worthington) --- Some think that the blind and the lame were excluded from the temple, or from David’s palace. But we find that they had free access to the temple; (Matthew xxi. 14., and Acts iii. 2.) and Miphiboseth ate at David’s table, though he was lame. If the Jebusites be designated, they were already excluded from the temple, like other infidels of Chanaan. (Calmet) --- Josephus ([Antiquities?] vii. 3.) insinuates, that "David drove them from Jerusalem," though we read of Areuna residing there, chap. xxiv.16. But he might be a proselyte before, and not dwell in the fort. The expression seems however to be proverbial, to signify any very difficult enterprize, which proves successful, and contrary to expectation. (Haydock) --- The Jebusites were thus derided (Sanctius) in their turn. (Tirinus) --- Whether Joab took this strong place by a subterraneous passage, (Haydock) or scaled the walls, and so got to the top, whence the water falls, as from a gutter; (Calmet) it is certain that he displayed the utmost valour, and thus obtained the confirmation of his authority, which David would perhaps have willingly taken from him, (Salien) if another had offered himself, and performed this hazardous enterprize. (Haydock) --- He made a fair offer to all Israel, as they probably expected. (Kennicott)

Verse 9

Inwards. He built or repaired the higher "city of David," beginning at Mello, to "fill up" the valley, which Solomon finished, and adorned with a palace, 3 Kings ix. 15., and 4 Kings xii. 20. The place is probably called Asaramel, 1 Machabees xiv. 27. (Calmet) --- Septuagint and Josephus generally understand Mello to designate the citadel of Sion, or "a complete fortification," to defend the city. Instead of inwards, the Septuagint have, "and his house." But ubithe means, "and to the house," temple, or fort, whence he began the enclosure, so as to make a complete communication. (Kennicott) --- This city became "the most famous in all the East." (Pliny, [Natural History?] v. 14.) --- "Walls, built in a crooked manner, according to the rules of art, enclosing two hills, immensely high." (Tacitus, Hist. v.) --- These hills were multiplied, on account of their different summits, so that Josephus speaks of five hills. The palace of David stood on Sion, the temple on Moria, which was a part of it still more elevated, towards the east. The other hill is often called Acra, by Josephus, and lay southward of Sion. Here the ancient town of Jebus was built. The Machabees took in an adjoining eminence. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vi. 6.) --- Bethsetta, or the new city, was afterwards enclosed. Herod adorned the city with may superb monuments, both of a public and of a private nature. (Calmet) --- We read of ten gates, and of four towers, belonging to this city. It was not well supplied with water, and what it had was brackish. The walls seem never to have exceeded four and a half miles; now they are only three, and include Mount Calvary, which was formerly no part of the city. Button says a valley run from west to east, between the two hills of Zion on the south, and Acra on the north; which contradicts the former statement. (Haydock) --- Villalpand supposes that the citadel was nine and a half stadia, and all the city thirty-five stadia in circumference, eight of which make an Italian mile. (Menochius)

Verse 11

Hiram was a magnificent prince, who kept up a correspondence with Solomon. He greatly adorned the city of Tyre. See Jospehus, contra Apion 1.)

Verse 12


Over. Hebrew, "for." The king is bound to promote the welfare of his people. (Calmet) --- But the same word means "over," as the Protestants allow. (Haydock) --- Success constantly attending David, was an earnest that the Lord had not rejected him. (Calmet)

Verse 13

David took more concubines and wives of Jerusalem. Not harlots, but wives of an inferior condition: for such in Scripture are styled concubines. (Challoner) --- He had in all eight wives, and ten whom he married with less solemnity. He might desire to attach the principal families of the nation, as well as some foreign princes, to his interests. Moses forbids a king to have too many wives, Deuteronomy xvii. 17. (Calmet) --- But David is never blamed for the transgression of this precept. See chap. iii. 1. (Menochius)

Verse 16

Eliphaleth. Septuagint reckon twenty instead of eleven. (Calmet) --- The Vatican copy has twenty-four, as some of the names have been read differently, so as to make two persons, and thus frequently a double translation occurs in the Septuagint; the one being taken either from Aquila, &c., or from some more early version, of which we know not the author. (Grabe) (Kennicott, Diss. ii. p. 404.)

Verse 17

Seek, or attack David. He went out to meet them. (Par.[1 Paralipomenon xiv. 8.?]) But receiving an order not to join battle as yet, retired to Odollam, (chap. xxiii. 13., and 1 Paralipomenon xi. 15.; Calmet) a strong hold, with which he was perfectly acquainted. (Haydock)

Verse 18

Raphaim. Septuagint, "of Titans," (Calmet) or giants who had dwelt there. (Menochius) --- It lay to the west (Menochius) or south of Jerusalem, and extended as far as Bethlehem. David was still more to the south, (Calmet) so that he seemed to be cut off from his capital. But it was secure enough. (Haydock) --- On this occasion, three of his brave men went through the midst of the enemies’ ranks, to fetch water from the spring of Bethlehem, chap. xxiii. 16.

Verse 20

Baal-Pharisim, "the master of the divisions or god of the scattered;" as the place was afterwards called, in memory that David became master, and put the enemy to flight, taking their idols, (Calmet) which were unable to save themselves. (Haydock)

Verse 21

Away, and burnt. (Par.[1 Paralipomenon xiv. 12.?) The ark had on the contrary proved fatal to the gods, and to the people of the Philistines; who might hence perceive the difference there was between the true God and their false gods.

Verse 23

Shall, &c. This consultation is omitted in Hebrew. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "and when David inquired of the Lord, he said, "Thou shalt not," &c. Septuagint, "and David," &c. (Haydock) --- Trees. Hebrew Becaim. Septuagint, "of lamentation," Judges ii. 1.

Verse 24

Trees. Many translate the Hebrew, "mulberry trees," or leave the original word, becaim, "the heights of Bochim." Septuagint seem to give a double version: "the sound of the agitation (or Alexandrian, "shutting up," (Haydock) as with an army on all sides) of the woods, of the lamentation." (Menochius) --- Theodoret supposes, "the woods put in motion, without any wind." It is thought that an army of spirits went before David, and threw the enemy into a panic. Storms of hail, &c., seem to have also cut them down, Isaias xxviii. 21., and Psalm xvii. 9.

Verse 25

Gabaa, which some would understand of "the hills" of Bochim. (Calmet) --- But in Septuagint (Alexandrian) and in Paralipomenon, we read Gabaon, a city near the birth-place of Saul. (Haydock) --- David pursued the enemy by Gabaa, and took from them all the cities of which they had taken possession, after their victory. (Calmet) --- Gezer was in the tribe of Ephraim, (Menochius) on the confines of the Philistines. (Calmet)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 5". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/2-samuel-5.html. 1859.
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